When creating a content plan, it’s important to focus on the needs of your target audience. A few weeks ago, we discussed how to choose the first topics for your content strategy. This content was based on:
- The topics in which you are an expert/authority
- The topics in which your team members are experts/authorities
- The most common pains experienced by your audience
Now, it’s time to take your content to the next level. You’ve already proven that you are an expert and Thought Leader in your field (if you haven’t, check out our previous post on Content Marketing).
The next step when creating your content plan is to showcase how you use your expertise to deliver value for your target audience. It’s not just about identifying their pains — it’s about addressing how you can solve these pains.
This involves diving into the specific pain relievers and gain creators that you can generate for your target market. Each of these pains and gains can be the topic for a unique piece of content.
It all sounds simple, but how do you actually do this? How do you take the research you compiled in your Customer Profile and Value Map and use it to create compelling content?
This brainstorming exercise should help.
Step 1: Analyse your Value Map & Customer Profile
First, compare your Customer Profile and your Value Map. By examining these assets that you’ve already created, you can ensure — based on extensive primary and secondary research into your market — that your content will resonate with your audience’s needs.
So, take a look at these assets and pick out the Top 10 most relevant pain relievers, gain creators, and products/solutions you offer your target audience.
The goal is to create content that will pique their interest enough to get them into your nurture cycle.
Focus on the elements that are relevant for your entire target audience — not just a small portion of your prospects. These points will make up the bulk of your content plan, so you want to make sure they are all-encompassing within your market.
Step 2: The “Keep, Combine, and Kill” Exercise
Once you have narrowed down your list to 10 pain relievers, gain creators, and products/solutions, it’s time to Keep, Combine, and Kill these topics.
This is a team exercise designed to align your content plan with your team’s top priorities.
Essentially, the process is:
- Make a list of your top 10 pain relievers, gain creators, and jobs/tasks.
- Get your strategic team in one room for the brainstorming session.
- Go around the room for each individual topic, with each person sharing their opinion of “Keep, Combine, or Kill” for that specific feature.
- Track the responses and tally up the votes at the end.
- For all “keepers” — create a piece of content around each one.
- For all “combines” — connect the features you want to combine and create a piece of content that includes both features.
- For all “kills” — remove them from the list (or save them for additional content later).
It’s as simple as that.
At the end of this process, your team will be aligned on your top priorities for your content plan, helping you develop an insightful structure to help educate and nurture your prospects.
Step 3: Build The Content Plan Around Your “Story”
If you were explaining your solution to a prospect for the first time, how would you tell the story?
When creating your content plan, it’s important to build on your prospects’ knowledge from one piece to the next.
Especially when explaining complex solutions, the story needs to make sense from an outsider’s perspective — someone who knows very little about the details of your process and your offering.
So, is your process linear? (i.e. you follow the same steps every time with every client)
- Try breaking down each step into its own piece of content and broadcasting the step-by-step process to your audience in order of completion.
Conversely, does your offering require many moving parts that work together simultaneously to deliver an all-in-one solution?
- If so, focus each content piece on a single feature. Dive into the nitty-gritty details of each feature — its process, goals, pain relievers, and gain creators — until your prospects get an all-encompassing view of each aspect of your solution.
Maybe you offer 3 unique products — each with their own benefits?
- Create a content piece revolving around each individual product. Within each piece, outline the pain relievers and gain creators that each specific solution addresses, and illustrate how it would benefit your target audience.
Do you offer customized solutions tailored to each prospects’ needs?
- Try building a piece of content around each specific (and most common) pain point that your offering solves and gain creator that your solution delivers — all backed by case studies to prove your results.
The goal here is to break down the story into a way that makes sense for a prospect who has never seen it before. This will help them navigate your solution without feeling overwhelmed by too much information at once.
By building content around the topics addressed in the “Keep, Combine, and Kill” exercise, you can ensure your content will be relevant to the needs of your audience.
Each piece in your content plan is a “bite-sized” portion of your offering. As they consume each piece, they will gain more insights into your solution (or solutions), educating and nurturing them as they navigate your content.
Once they reach the point of making a buying decision, they will have a full grasp of your solution and your process, and you will be top-of-mind.
So, have you tried the “Keep, Combine, Kill” exercise?
What kind of results did you get? Did you find it helpful in aligning your team and organizing the structure of your content plan?
For more insights into how to develop a robust content plan that will resonate with your audience, book a Growth Call with our team below.